Sunderland have been handed a major boost with the news Steven Fletcher's shoulder injury is not as serious as was first feared.
The Scotland international striker dislocated his shoulder during last Saturday's 3-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at West Brom, and there were concerns that he could be sidelined for several months.
However, interim head coach Kevin Ball revealed on Friday afternoon that the latest prognosis is much more positive.
Ball said: "The news is better than we expected. Hopefully, it will be four to six weeks, which is great news."
Fletcher, who was the Black Cats' top scorer with 11 goals last season, missed the end of last season and the start of the current campaign after undergoing ankle surgery.